The world of technology is constantly changing and developing, making it hard for some healthcare professionals to keep up with all the advancements. All healthcare sectors nowadays rely heavily on digital technology to carry on day-to-day tasks. Management software and servers that are used to store data are now the life and soul of any modern care establishment. This makes it crucial for medical professionals to learn how to deal with such technology properly and safely. The way to do that is through learning how to become HIPAA compliant in order to carry on digital work in a safe and efficient manner. Here is everything you should know about how to become HIPAA compliant. To get an idea you can look at the in-depth guide, Basics of HIPAA Compliance.
What is HIPAA?
In order to understand the importance of HIPAA compliance and how to become compliant, one must first know what it actually is. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) is a US federal statute that regulates the access of healthcare professionals to sensitive medical data and classified health information. To be HIPAA-compliant means applying certain privacy and security systems within your healthcare facility with an aim of preventing any data leaks or breaches or even any improper use of sensitive information by any professional employees.
Create a Security Policy
Healthcare organizations deal with numerous patients on a regular basis. Those patients often share a lot of sensitive information with the professionals at such organizations so that healthcare professionals can document any necessary data that would help them in the future. In order for your healthcare organization to become HIPAA-compliant, it would need to implement or create some kind of security policy that ensures all the sensitive data being documented regularly is safe from any cyber crimes or digital mistakes. Once you create that policy, you can get your certificate online and become officially a HIPAA-compliant. To maintain your compliance, there should also be one or two security officers whose job is to maintain the security of all the recorded data available at the establishment to avoid any breaches or leaks that could end up causing massive issues.
Do Regular Reviews
Even though using technology makes it much harder to make small mistakes that could otherwise be made as a result of a human error, there is still always a risk of mistakes being made unintentionally that could affect your HIPAA compliance. In order to avoid such issues and remain on the right track without breaking any laws, make sure you do regular reviews of your data storage systems. During those reviews, you should check just how vulnerable your systems really are by trying to assess your weakest links. As soon as you have a review or an assessment, you should move on with the information you have to try and develop your systems and policies in a way that protects any vulnerable data and keeps everything safe in one place.
Making sure your healthcare organization is HIPAA-compliant starts with making sure that your staff knows what they are doing. Training your staff on at least the basic elements of privacy and digital security is vital when you are trying to maintain your HIPAA compliance. Your employees do not need to be experts in the technological field, but they should know the basics and learn how to safely deal with any sensitive data they come across. Give your employees constant feedback and guide them for a while, especially when they first start working in the organization to avoid ending up with a HIPAA violation for a mistake that could have been avoided with some essential training.
Establish a Breach Protocol
Even in the most secure healthcare organizations, cybercrime attacks are still a possibility. You can try your best to minimize such risks by following all the privacy protocol rules you have in place, but it is also vital to establish a breach protocol in case you ever find yourself in such a situation. The breach protocol should be a series of official steps that your healthcare organization takes in the event of a cyber-attack where sensitive information has been leaked or misused. This would help you remain HIPAA-compliant, where you would take the necessary legal steps to avoid any investigation issues.
The use of digital technology in the medical sector makes it much easier for healthcare professionals to keep track of their work and better help patients. However, as beneficial as technology can be, it also poses some privacy risks if not used properly with the HIPAA compliance rules. To ensure that your organization is safe and compliant with the HIPAA statute, make sure you have a strong security policy in place and train all your staff well before they deal with any vulnerable data.